Malaysian government pushing for national F1 team
4 September 2009

Lotus is poised to return to F1, backed by a consortium led by the Malaysian government.

The team would takeover BMW Sauber, and be backed by Malaysian oil giant Petronas and Lotus, which is owned by Malaysia's national car maker Proton.

The push for the return of the Lotus name in F1 could also be boosted by the arrival of former Ferrari brand guru Dany Bahar as the company's new CEO, although it is believed his appointment at the current time is coincidental and not linked to the F1 plans.

Lotus's ambitions are being spearheaded by respected technical chief Mike Gascoyne, formerly of Renault and Toyota, whose original Lotus team linked with the Litespeed operation were widely talked about earlier this year.

Malaysia's Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek refused to deny talk that the government is looking at its involvement in the team when speaking to local media.

"Nothing has been finalised and there's nothing to comment," he told the Malay Mail. "I'm not confirming, neither am I saying otherwise."

Shabery also refused to deny that an announcement about the team's plans was scheduled to be made after the Singapore Grand Prix later this month by Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

He said: "Let's wait for the PM to make the announcement. Who knows what will happen after the Singapore GP."

The FIA is currently evaluating the entries for the 13th team in F1, with an announcement expected in the next few weeks.

Twitter - follow all the latest Lotus reviews, news and video

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

Join the debate


4 September 2009

They only get in if Bernie gives them an entry, it's not a done deal, by any means.

They might buy Sauber BMW and stand a chance of an entry, but they still might not get in

4 September 2009

[quote Autocar]The team would takeover BMW Sauber[/quote]

I would be very surprised if this outfit took over BMW Sauber and operated from their Swiss base. Far more likely that they would operate from the ex Bentley LeMans team premises in Hingham, Norfolk. This site has been acquired by the Liespeed/Gascoyne F1 project. Also, the Litespeed/Mike Gascoyne team never stopped work on their F1 project after their initial rejection by the FIA

4 September 2009

There are several advantages of taking over Sauber's Hinwil site: It has a lot of R&D related facilities that can be used to test road cars as well as F1 vehicles and there would be significant tax reasons to be based in Switzerland.

4 September 2009

[quote Autocar]Mike Gascoyne, formerly of Renault and Toyota[/quote]

Mike is superb at getting a team up the grid, but doesn't seem to be able to translate to a winning car. But those teams who sack them slip back afterwards again!

Anybody who takes over BMW will have an entry to the F1 championship, that's not something to worry about. It's not just the entry ticket that BMW have that's valuable but all of the knowledge and facilities the team already have. Discarding this, no matter how well prepared your other entry is, would be a mistake.

Wonder if they'll buy the Mercedes engine? Five teams running it could be interesting!

4 September 2009

Call me a sentimental old softie, but please let this come true. Can it be predominantly green with a yellow stripe too?


4 September 2009

It wasn't that long ago that Proton were struggling for cash in their home market, so where is the funding coming from? Are the Malaysian government going to be ploughing their money in Proton as a consequence?

Also, why would the appointment of a new MD to Lotus cars have an effect on the F1 team? When Lotus F1 was operated before it was a completely separate company which limited the liability of the company as a whole, with separate staff and directors. I can't seem them altering that philosophy.



It's all about the twisties........

15 September 2009

As I was saying (in Sep 4 post - see below)............................

From FIA press release, announcing Malaysian backed Lotus F1 team -

" A partnership between the Malaysian Government and a consortium of Malaysian entrepreneurs, 1Malaysia F1 Team returns the Lotus name as a constructor to Formula One for the first time since 1994. The team will initially be based at the RTN facility in Norfolk, UK, some 10 miles from the Lotus Cars factory. A 50,000 square foot fully equipped facility, RTN was built by Toyota for its initial Formula One programme and then used by Bentley for its successful Le Mans programme."

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week